The Barefoot Corporate Warrior: Inspiration – It’s a Myth Worth Cultivating
With our magazine, we aim to inform, indulge and inspire you with our stories of local people, places, activities and events celebrating Noosa. The inspire part of the equation is what I have been thinking about recently. As far as I know, being inspired and the impetus to action or thinking which it generates, is a uniquely human characteristic.
I can honestly say that Noosa’s natural environment and vibrant community do inspire me – to be energetic, physical and a part of the action. In short, I have bought into the myth/story/legend of the Noosa lifestyle ideal with its kaleidoscope of opportunity to live fully.
Yuval Noah Harari outlines in his bestselling book, Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind, humankind’s ability to create and gather support for myths and legends – concepts, beliefs and interpretations – has been fundamental to our species’ development and ascension to the current apex position of all life on this planet.
Homo sapiens have emerged as the sole survivor of at least six species of human to have wandered the Earth with the ability to buy into certain myths or stories (and sometimes on a large scale). This has been a key factor in allowing us to form cohesive structures and movements of all kinds and drive the development of civilisation.
Even our global economic system is at its core an example of myth-belief on a gigantic scale. Apparently coins and banknotes account for only 10 per cent of the money in the world. Yep, according to Harari more than 90 per cent of all money “exists only on computer servers.” We have all bought into the belief that this money “exists” even if it is just a morsel of code out taking up digital space.
The myths and legends that sprang from our “cognitive revolution” between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago have also shaped our destiny, according to Harari. This brings us back to inspiration – a myth which seeds fertile ground in us humans.
What or who inspires you? Where and how do you find this inspiration? And what is its purpose in your life?
Your personal, family, community, organisational inspiration is worth interrogating from time-to-time. Is inspiration required to achieve “success” (whatever that may be for you)? Is your inspiration revealed by proactive searching or do you prefer to adopt a mindset of openness in order to receive random sources of inspiration? Is a combination of both the best for you?
The word inspire has a Latin origin – “to breathe or blow into.” Definitions mention excitement, drawing courage from, creativity, identifying direction.
There seems to be a level of arousal – physical, emotional and mental associated with inspiration. This arousal often starts in the body as a form of physical sensation – goose bumps, tingles up-and-down the spine, accelerated heart rate, tears — it can manifest slowly over time or hit in a flash. However, it comes to you there is no doubting its power to shift, not only individuals but entire tribes, nations, organisations even the world’s entire population.
I like to collect inspiring quotes. I write them down and then come back to them at various times. Some quotes still resonate years later, others fall by the wayside because they were really only relevant to something which I was going through at the time.
Here’s one I came across in researching this column: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool” by Shakespeare. This quote brings me back to humility and is a good reminder when I might be getting carried away with myself.
Nelson Mandela found inspiration through his lonely years in prison by reading the poem Invictus, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” It helped keep him going and inspired resilience and fortitude.
Literature and art, politics and history, even sport all provide tales of heroism to inspire.
Which brings us to another aspect of inspiration — not all heroes or heroic stories are without flaws. Greeks and Romans through gods, demigods, warrior heroes, leaders and intellectuals understood the imperfect nature of heroism. Their heroes were often prone to wanton extremes of personality. These flaws made them all the more believable and loveable. Their type of inspiration was all the more attainable.
Clearly inspiration does not always deliver. But when it does it is thrilling.
Inspiration can be applied in every endeavour of your activity, today and into the future. It is often associated with motivation to achieve a goal and can help in finding direction for our prodigious human energy.
The bottom line is, whatever it is, whoever it is, wherever it is, whenever it was, find your inspiration and run with it. Use it to heighten your sense of aliveness through mindfulness and purpose.
Does that inspire you?